OUT OF OFFICE | Jaguar
by Andrew Ngozo
Jaguar F-Type: It's Good to be Bad
Believe it or not, ‘It’s good to be bad’ is actually part of the slogan for the Jaguar F-TYPE. But, if you look at this beautifully sculptured replacement for the Jaguar E-TYPE, you won’t want to agree with the statement. Rather, you may want to think along the lines of what Phil Popham, Group Marketing Director, Jaguar Land Rover, says: “The F-TYPE Coupé provides its driver with a unique, two-seater sports-car experience. It combines seductive design with cutting-edge technology and performance which is truly breathtaking. Engaging, precise, intuitive and alive – it is the definitive sports coupé.”
The new F-TYPE Coupé is the most beautiful and dynamically capable, performance-focused, production Jaguar ever, but if you really want to know more, then strap yourself to the seat, push the start button and experience the goose bumps when the V8 delivering 405kW/680Nm snarls at you and
leaves you believing that, when you engage the eight-speed Quickshift transmission with full manual sequential control via steering wheel-mounted paddles or the central SportShift lever and channel the power through the engine, you are going to be catapulted onto the road with the ferocious F-TYPE leaving you in no doubt that this car means business.
There is no way that any driver is going to remain good while controlling this beast; hence the slogan: ‘It’s good to be bad’. The F-TYPE is to my mind one of the best-balanced sports cars available and it destined to be a serious contender in its segment. I have not experienced such roadholding and real-time response in a long time. It never loses its grip and it sticks to surfaces through its Electronic Active Differential which works in parallel with a new ‘Torque Vectoring by braking’ system to deliver enhanced agility and exploitable handling at the limit – even on surfaces where I thought it would be impossible to keep control. Its industry-leading torsional rigidity of 33 000Nm/degree – which makes it the most torsionally rigid production Jaguar ever – plays an important role when throwing this amazing vehicle into tight turns and traversing uneven roads.
The model line-up is headlined by the F-TYPE R Coupé, with its 405kW/680Nm 5.0-litre V8 supercharged engine producing acceleration from 0 to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 300km/h (limited). Its siblings follow closely behind and are by no means slouches or less capable. Sounding just as good as the V8 are the F-TYPE S Coupé and the F-TYPE Coupé models which complete the range and are powered respectively by 280kW and 250kW versions of Jaguar’s 3.0-litre supercharged V6 engine, producing 0-100km/h in 4.9/5.3 seconds and top speeds of 275/260km/h.
The F-TYPE Coupé has up to 407 litres of boot space, easily accommodates two sets of golf clubs, and the tailgate is available with optional, power-assisted opening.
Prices for the F-TYPE, the F-TYPE S and the F-TYPE V8 R are R843 404, R982 404 and R1 534 189 respectively.
The F-TYPE is not only great to drive, but is also spectacular to look at – and its design and technology are at the forefront of what is possible today.
The Coupé’s body side is made from a single piece of aluminium pressing, eliminating the requirement for multiple panels and cosmetic joints. The roof panel itself is available in either aluminium or panoramic glass form. A deployable rear spoiler sits within the tapered shut-line of the F-TYPE Coupé, while slim, wraparound LED lamps flank a beautifully engineered tailgate, with optional powered open/close functionality.
While driving – or should I say racing – around the racing circuit in Pietermaritzburg, the excellence and the real value of the F-TYPE R Coupé bespoke suspension setup and new dynamic technologies were proven. These include a second-generation Electronic Active Differential (EAD) and – for the first time on a Jaguar – Torque Vectoring by braking, with these systems working in parallel to provide immediacy of response and exploitable handling. The EAD system automatically redistributes engine torque between the rear wheels to ensure excellent on-the-limit control, while Torque Vectoring by braking intelligently applies precisely metered braking force to the inner wheels as necessary during cornering to enhance agility. Sports suspension with Adaptive Dynamics damping and Configurable Dynamic Mode further enhance the F-TYPE R’s immediacy of response, providing an exhilarating and involving driving experience.
F-TYPE Coupé: Design and Structure
The F-TYPE Coupé’s visual message is defined by three key ‘heartlines’, with that visual message beginning with the formidable grille. It is from the twin ‘shark-gill’ openings that sit either side of the grille that the essential first heartline – which mirrors the design of the F-TYPE Convertible – flows and begins to take shape. Running up through the headlamp, and accentuated by the LED J blade daylight running lamps, the line then arcs up over the front wheel arch before dropping elegantly as it runs through the door, washing out into the muscular rear haunch.
The Coupé’s second heartline begins at the rear edge of the door, swelling outwards and upwards to create a visually strong wheel arch, emphasising the car’s rear-wheel-drive layout, before dropping vertically through the tail lamp.
The third heartline forms the Coupé’s dramatic, cabin-rearward, sweeping roof profile. Providing an unbroken silhouette, it highlights the visual drama of the tapered cabin nestled between the powerful rear haunches. The distinctive side-window graphic, finished as standard in bright aluminium, accentuates both the compactness of the car and the roof profile.
The width of the tail is emphasised by the slim, full-LED lamps that wrap all the way around the wings almost to the trailing edge of the rear wheel arches. These lamps feature hidden-until-lit technology, appearing solid until one of their functions is activated. The F-TYPE Coupé also features a ‘ribbon of light’, LED high-mounted stop light, which is hidden at the top of the beautifully engineered tailgate.
The F-TYPE R Coupé’s aerodynamic bodywork – gloss black front vanes beneath the shark gills and flat side-sill extensions – aids its stability at the very high speeds of which it is capable. As standard, the R Coupé’s window finishes are highlighted in bright anodised aluminium along the frames of the side glass, with the grille surround and side air vents in bright chrome, while the optional Black Pack adds gloss black window finishers, gloss black side power air vents and a gloss black grille surround.
Like all models in the F-TYPE range, the R Coupé’s driver-focused cabin clearly conveys the car’s pedigree and sporting prowess through a combination of taut, technical styling involving interfaces and premium materials and textures. It puts the driver and the passenger in a luxury cocoon where the focus is on quick reaction and easily reached controls.
The F-TYPE Coupé’s Performance seats have inflatable side-bolstering and prominent wings for support during high-speed cornering. The seats are finished in premium leather. A pure Jet interior colour way is offered with three options of contrast stitching – Ivory, Red or Firesand – on the instrument panels, door casings, grab-handle highlight and cubby box. There are a further three sporting options on the Jet seats – Ivory, Camel or Red duo-tones – each with similarly matched contrast stitching.
The F-TYPE R Coupé’s premium trim also includes leather on the instrument panel and binnacle, armrests, door inserts and the centre console. The driver-focused cockpit conveys its sporting intentions with a small-diameter, flat-bottomed steering wheel wrapped in Jet leather.
The F-TYPE Coupé model range is available with two audio systems from globally recognised British experts Meridian. These offer either 10 or 12 loudspeakers with outputs of 380W and 770W respectively. The Meridian systems benefit from the company’s huge experience in digital signal processing to create audio reproduction that is second to none. The top-of-the-range offering also features Meridian’s proprietary Trifield technology, which delivers an authentic and consistent surround sound to both occupants.
The F-TYPE R and S Coupé models have an exclusive option of Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brakes. Vivid yellow monoblock callipers – six-piston at the front and four-piston at the rear – grip 398mm front and 380mm rear-brake discs made from a matrix of carbon fibre and ceramic, which is extremely hard and highly resistant to wear.
The CCM system offers consistent performance and excellent fade resistance, even during sustained, extreme driving conditions, while retaining the precise pedal feel of the standard system. Reduced wear and tear in day-to-day driving also means extended disc life.
CCM brakes offer considerable weight savings over standard steel brakes – the overall 21kg reduction in unsprung weight further enhances handling dynamics. Specify CCM brakes and your F-TYPE R or S Coupé will come with 20-inch Storm wheels.
As standard, these are in a satin-grey anthracite finish, but an optional, forged version with gloss black/diamond-turned finish is offered.
CCM brakes are now also optional on F-TYPE S and V8 S Convertible models.
Jaguar believes that the F-TYPE will become as famous as the E-TYPE – and having experienced the dynamics of the cars and taking into consideration the looks, I believe them.